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Iowa Flood Center

The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) is celebrating 10 years of service this summer!

Living with Floods

Aerial shot of UI campus during 2008 flood

Aerial shot of Iowa City during 2008 flood (Photo by Tom Jorgensen, UI)

For Iowans, information is the key to being ready for the next flood.

The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) at the University of Iowa is working to provide Iowans with accurate, scientific information to help individuals and communities better understand their flood risk.

Monitoring and Predicting Floods

In the last several years, floodwaters have inundated the campuses of both Iowa State University and the University of Iowa, as well many other areas of the United States.

Research that began even as the waters were rising at the University of Iowa was the genesis of the Iowa Flood Center (IFC), the nation’s first academic center devoted solely to the study of floods. The IFC was founded in 2009 and resides in the C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Lab, home of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering. First- and second-year state appropriations of $1.3 million annually support the center’s overarching goal of improved flood monitoring and prediction capabilities in Iowa.

One of IFC’s most utilized projects is the deployment of stream sensors throughout Iowa to monitor water levels of the state’s rivers. The sensors are part of a larger effort to keep Iowans informed about flooding in their area through the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS). IFIS is an online platform that shares flood data with the public in near real-time. Data from the stream sensors is relayed to the flood center, where it is put online for the public to see in the form of interactive maps.

The IFC also takes an active role in the Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA), which was created in 2016 to help reduce and manage flooding. Nine watersheds across Iowa benefit from the efforts of the IWA to mitigate flood damage and promote flood resiliency in their communities. The state won a $96.9 M grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund the five-year project.

Through collaborations with communities, individuals, government agencies, and decision-makers, the IFC is bringing engineering and scientific expertise to flood-related issues.

About 20 graduate and undergraduate students at the UI and ISU are currently involved in IFC work. These students get hands-on training and expertise that spans a variety of academic disciplines, preparing them for the complex problems of the future.

IFC Director Witold Krajewski, an IIHR research engineer and professor of civil and environmental engineering, says the center is a vital resource for Iowans as they prepare for future floods.

For more, visit the Iowa Flood Center website.

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Last modified on June 4th, 2019
Posted on June 1st, 2010

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